Travel Writing Kickstarter - bring fresh eyes to your own back yard
“The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust
Ever dreamed of roaming the world as a travel writer? Why wait? What if you could get started right here on your doorstep?
With expert help from award-winning journalists Nick Thorpe and Jean West, this intensive one-day workshop will equip you to research and craft evocative travel writing by taking inspiration from one of the world's epic tourist destinations - coincidentally our home city.
This month we are zooming in on Portobello, recently voted the UK's top neighbourhood with its own remarkable and vivid history. We invite you to spend the day with us in this seaside suburb, where we’ll learn to lift the veil of familiarity through mindful immersion and on-the-ground research and interviewing – and help you create a lively and engaging piece of writing ready for publication.
During the day you will learn to:
- Scour the streets and seafront of Porty in search of original angles
- Tap into free-writing exercises to unleash new perspectives
- Use research techniques to deepen and enrich your story
- Sift your raw material to identify a 'top line' and create a punchy standfirst
- Edit first drafts into bright, bold, engaging copy for publication
- Interview with confidence, using irresistible openers with those you meet
- Take good, publication-ready photos on ordinary smartphones
- Identify sources for free images and accessible background information
- Identify current markets for travel writing, with tips for pitching to editors
By the end of the day you will be tooled-up and equipped to publish your own travel piece fit for publication, websites and blogs. With real-life advice and stories from decades of reporting experience around the world, Jean and Nick will help you take your first steps into travel writing on your own doorstep.
Jean West has written for all of the British nationals from The Times and Sunday Times to The Mail on Sunday and The Guardian and for magazines including Marie Claire, the Big Issue and Geographical. Working across news and features, the arts and culture, politics, health and campaigning journalism, she has turned her hand to most reporting - but travel is a passion. Her journeying has taken her to earthquake and war zones in Armenia and Bosnia to refugee camps in the Algerian desert and to the home of spiritual leaders in Northern India. Walking the ever-changing landscape of Portobello beach makes her happiest.
Nick Thorpe is an award-winning writer, speaker and coach. A prolific national newspaper journalist and travel writer for more than 20 years, his first book Eight Men and a Duck saw him voyaging to Easter Island by experimental reed raft. But it was his Scottish boat-hitching odyssey Adrift in Caledonia, later serialised as BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week, which taught him the magic of learning to re-see the landscapes on our doorsteps. His most recent book, Urban Worrier, tracks his adventures in the “lost art of letting go”. He lives in Newhaven with his wife and son, coaches a range of private clients and loves to kayak the islands of the Forth.
Portobello is the beautiful, quirky seaside suburb of Edinburgh - a city that like Barcelona isn't always associated with a beach. Three miles east of the city centre, the coastal gem was once the haunt of seamen and smugglers but is now filled with artists and families with a highly tuned sense of community. Bellfield Church is the site of Scotland's first community buy-out and hosts events from Indian Diwali festivals to music gigs, regular ceilidhs and pantomime. It offers just one example of the character behind Portobello whose bars and cafes buzz with tales of the unexpected.
Cost and Booking
The cost for the day is £95. Tickets are non-refundable less then 30 days before the event.
We’ll congregate from 9.15 for a 9.30 start, and finish by 5.30pm, with an hour for lunch at 1pm.
What to bring
a pen and notebook
a laptop/tablet if you prefer to write on screen
a water bottle
a recording device or app on your phone - to record interviews.
Warm clothes, waterproofs and strong shoes for the beach
a phone or camera for photography
We will provide hot drinks and snacks, but please bring a packed lunch – or you may prefer to sample one of Portabello’s many great cafes and eateries over lunch.